Under the Dome

House OKs Falls Lake SolarBee study

The still-unproven whirling devices employed to clean up Jordan Lake would be studied for possible use in Falls Lake, under a bill the House approved Tuesday.

House Bill 630 calls for state environmental officials to consider whether the SolarBee devices or something similar could be deployed to prevent or reduce excessive algae blooms in Falls Lake.

The devices are being tested at Jordan Lake for two years; but it’s too soon to measure their effectiveness. Lawmakers from communities upstream of Jordan Lake have been trying to delay rules that a previous legislature and environmental interests came up with to reduce pollution by restricting development.

Rep. Larry Yarborough, a Republican from Roxboro, said there needs to be a way to avoid making houses more expensive in order to comply with those rules, when new technology could solve the problem.

Rep. Grier Martin, a Democrat from Raleigh, said the Jordan Lake rules were painstakingly developed over many years and should be allowed to go into effect.

"We run the risk once an agreement is reached, we start chipping away at it, then we’re back to where we started," Martin said. "This bill is a strong step in that direction."

The bill was approved 78-38.